John Ed Mathison headshot

John Ed Mathison

Editor’s Note: This was a Thanksgiving Day message from Rev. Mathison that deserves to be remembered every day of the year.

I remember a great story my Sunday school teacher told our class about two angels who were commissioned to come to earth. Each brought a large basket. Whenever they were around people they were to listen and record their thoughts. If they were complaining, griping, or whining, the first angel would place all of those thoughts into his basket. Whenever they encountered people who were being thankful and grateful, the second angel would record those thoughts and put them in his basket.

I remember the picture the teacher painted when he showed how the basket for the first angel was full to overflowing. The basket for the second angel was almost empty. Most people were whining and complaining, and very few people were grateful and giving thanks.

Is that a picture of today? I remember a pastor who did an informal study for a month of people within his church. He discovered that people complain about 20 times as much as they were giving thanks! That’s a sad picture.

I also remember a poem, written anonymously years ago, that has become one of my favorites:

Forgive Me When I Whine

Today upon a bus I saw a girl with golden hair, she seemed so gay, I wish I were as fair,

As she started to leave I saw her hobble down the aisle, she had one leg, and a crutch, but as she passed, a smile.

Oh God forgive me when I whine,

I’ve got two legs, the world is mine.

Later walking down the street, I stopped to buy some sweets,

The lad who sold them had such charm, I stayed and talked with him, if I were late it would do no harm, As I started to leave he said, “Thank you, you’ve been so kind. It’s good to talk with folks like you, you see I’m blind.”

Oh God forgive me when I whine,

I’ve got two eyes the world is mine.

Later I saw a child with eyes of blue, He stood and watched the others play as if he knew not what to do,

I said to him, “Why don’t you join the others dear? ”But he stared straight ahead without a word

And then I knew he could not hear.

Oh God forgive me when I whine,

I’ve got two ears the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I go - with eyes to see the sunset’s glow - with ears to hear what I would know,

Oh God forgive me when I whine,

I’m blessed indeed - the world is mine!

Thanksgiving isn’t a day on the calendar - it’s a way of life. Giving thanks isn’t something that we do once a year – it’s something that we ought to do with every breath we breathe!

Many of us need to move off Whining Street, and take up a permanent residence on Thanksgiving Avenue!

It’s moving time!

Contributing Writer